Visitor Activities

Northern Bobwhite Quail 512 with credit



  • Hunting

    Northern Bobwhite Quail 150 with credit

    Hunting Opportunities include Migratory Bird Hunting, Small Game Hunting, Upland Bird Hunting and Big Game hunting

    Some of the most unique wildlife in the United States lives unseen by most people in deep caves throughout the southern United States. Key Cave is one such place, where the world's only known population of Alabama cave fish swims and thousands of endangered gray bats roost. The lands surrounding the cave may be hunted four days a week for a variety of species. A popular local hunting spot, Key Cave NWR can have good dove hunting early in the year. Quail hunting is also popular on the native grassland that is being restored to the refuge. While quail are not numerous, there are coveys throughout the refuge. The refuge shares a boundary with Alabama's Seven Mile Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which is also open to public hunting.

    In addition to the current huntable species, the following hunting opportunities will be added to the permit in the 2020-2021 hunting season: White-tailed deer, feral hog, bobcat, coyote, fox, groundhog , snipe, woodcock, and crow.

    The Refuge is open to small game, northern bobwhite quail and migratory bird hunting (e.g., mourning dove). Permits and special regulations are subject to the State of Alabama's Seven Mile Island Wildlife Management Area Regulation; please contact Wheeler NWR headquarters for more specific information. There are no entrance fees, however, a permit is required.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Eastern Gray Squirrel

    The Refuge has 2.5 miles of roads/trails that are open for hiking and bicycling that pass through native grasslands, upland hardwoods, and agricultural land. The trail system offers opportunities to view or photograph an assortment of wildlife including many grassland bird species. No vehicular access is allowed on Key Cave NWR, however handicapped accessible parking is available at the kiosk.

    For more information about wildlife observation opportunities at Key Cave NWR, contact the Refuge Project Leader at 256/353-7243, email:

  • Environmental Education and Interpretation

    Sunflowers Key Cave 150 width

    Key Cave is home to site #9 of the North Alabama Birding Trail. Panels on the kiosk provide environmental education and interpretation.

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources.  Many refuges offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences.  Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities.  Thousands of youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about a specific topic on wildlife, habitat, or ecological processes.


  • Photography

    Eastern Bluebird

    Keeping a lookout for wildlife to photograph as you enjoy the scenery is a priority. The beauty of wildlife is something to capture in photography for memories and to share with others.